Longhorns for Life: Texas Exes send off UT-Austin Class of 2023 - Brownsville Herald: Education

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Longhorns for Life: Texas Exes send off UT-Austin Class of 2023

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 10:45 am

There was a consistent message Thursday at the annual sendoff for lower Rio Grande Valley students entering the University of Texas at Austin – take advantage of all the resources available through the network of UT students and alums on campus and in the world.

The Brownsville chapter of the Texas Exes hosted the event in the lobby of IBC Bank Brownsville.

“There is a support network for all of you in Austin and here at home in the Valley,” chapter president Michael Moreno, BA ’89 said as he got the program underway.

“Many of our alumni serve as mentors to our students. Let us know and we will connect you with a Texas Ex,” Moreno said.

The reception served as a welcome for the 177 students attending UT-Austin this year from Cameron and Willacy counties, of which 93 are graduates of 11 Brownsville high schools. In total 412 students from the Valley are UT-bound, including 235 from Hidalgo and Starr counties, UT officials said.

Guest speakers included former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio ‘Tony,’ Garza, BBA ’80. He is also a former Texas railroad commissioner and secretary of state, former Cameron County judge and a Brownsville native.

Garza said the students will probably be a little bit like him, intimidated by the sprawling UT campus, where one dorm even has its own zip code.

“I remember having to tell myself ‘you belong here. You’ve been accepted and you belong here. ... There are days when you have to wake up and remind yourself that ‘I belong here,’ because at the University of Texas it doesn’t matter whether you’re the first generation, second generation, third generation, whether you’re black, brown, male, female, Jewish, whatever, You’re a Longhorn and you have every right to be there as anyone else on that campus.”

Texas Exes Executive Director Chuck Harris, BBA ’86 and lifetime Texas Exes member, urged the students to take advantage of being a Longhorn.

“There are 500,000 living UT alumni who will have your back for life,” he said.

Janelle Chavez, BSA ’19, from Port Isabel and a Forty Acres Scholar, said she eventually began asking ‘why not me?’ “UT means opportunity. Have confidence and aim high,” she said.

“My advice is to become a planner,” she said. “These are the most exciting, transformative years of your life.”

Manny Sandoval, the Porter Early College High School valedictorian, will work toward a career as a physical therapist. His father Manuel Sandoval Sr. and mother Gracie Sandoval are both Porter and UT graduates.

“He applied and one day he got a call from the dean to give him the news that he’d been accepted,” the elder Sandoval said. “It’s exciting.”

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

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Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

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